Acknowledging the role of social media in our travel plans has become as obvious as recognizing that the sun is always shining. The focus now turns to understanding how deeply and widely this impact reaches. It’s no surprise that social media plays a huge part in planning out vacation itineraries; what remains unknown, however, is just how big its influence truly is.
A biometric photography startup Passport Photo Online compiled some interesting statistics about the relationship between social media and travel. Some of them surpassed what we expected.
Vacationers and Social Media: A Match Made in Heaven
It’s no secret that social media and travel go hand-in-hand. 89% of US vacationers checked social media during their most recent leisurely trip, with over half of travelers spending between 30 and 120 minutes daily on social media. But why do travelers find themselves scrolling through their feeds while on vacation?
Sadly, 46% of Americans want to make their followers jealous of their travel experience. At the same time, 40% of Millennials choose travel destinations based on how Instagrammable the pics will be.
Social media plays a significant role in inspiring travelers to visit new destinations. In fact, 52% of travelers decided to visit a specific destination after seeing its images/videos from friends, family, or peers on social media, and 60% post photos on social media while away, with 97% of Millennials doing so.
Instagram – the King of Travel Inspiration
Instagram is the ultimate go-to for inspiring dreams of exploration and adventure. With a whopping 300 million posts with “travel” in their titles, as well as over one million searches to related hashtags weekly, it’s no wonder Instagram is perceived as the most influential vacation platform, followed by Facebook and TripAdvisor.
The Dark Side of Social Media and Travel
While social media can inspire and motivate travelers to visit new destinations, it can also have a negative impact on their travel experiences. Nearly six in 10 travelers (58%) believe frequent social media use negatively impacted their most recent vacation. In some cases, it can lead to unrealistic expectations or a constant need to document their experiences rather than fully immersing themselves at the moment.
The Power of Influencers and Social Media on Travel
Social media influencers have become a driving force in the travel industry, with 45% of Gen Zers trusting influencer’s travel recommendations. Influencer content on social media has inspired travelers to visit new destinations, with 86% of people growing interested in traveling to a specific destination after seeing its images in their feeds. For luxury travelers, the influence of social media is even stronger. Over half of the global luxury travelers (55%) believe capturing social media content while away helps them enjoy a more meaningful experience, and just under 40% of global luxury travelers will place more emphasis on social media when traveling in the coming year.
Hotels and Social Media: A Match Made in Marketing
Hotels are also catching on to the power of social media and are leveraging it to reach potential customers. Over 50% of hotels have a booking engine or widget on their Facebook page to ease the booking process, and 53% of travelers avoid booking hotels that don’t have reviews on social media.
Travelers Share Their Experiences
Travelers love to share their experiences on social media, with 38% of Americans using social media for blogging about their travel experiences, and over 72% of travelers posting vacation photos on social media. Upon returning from a trip, 76% of travelers like Facebook pages specific to their destination, with 46% posting activity/attraction reviews and 40% writing hotel and restaurant reviews.
In conclusion, it’s clear that social media plays a major role in inspiring travelers to explore new destinations while also offering them the opportunity to share their experiences with others. While it can be exciting to document your travels on social media, it’s important to remember that you don’t need a filter or an Instagram photo to make your trip meaningful and memorable.
Allow yourself to be fully present in the moment and embrace the unique wonders each destination has to offer!
Michal Jonca is a travel, food, and trail running passionate who visited 40+ countries on four continents. He is a Travel Leader for Solisci Adventure Club and the Community Manager at PhotoAiD.